Palau calls for Pacific solidarity on fisheries and climate
Palau's President, the outgoing chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, says the voices of the small island states need to be heard.
The Palau President says the voice of Small Islands States need to be heard and action needs to follow talk.
Tommy Remengesau is attending the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby.
Mr Remengesau, who is the outgoing chair, told Koro Vaka'uta why the meeting was so important to small island states like Palau.
TOMMY REMENGESAU: We are indeed faced with a very critical regionalism decisions to make, maximising the values of our fishing resources while at the same time ensuring that it's a sustainable commodity for our people and our future as island people. So that's going to take some regional understanding of the peoples livelihood. You've heard of climate change which affects everybody and for those small island states and countries like Palau, we hope this is looked at in a humanitarian moral value sense because it involves survival of lives and the survival of countries. So it's not just an economic issue that you can put on the table and look at it from a gain or loss perspective, so in that respect regionalism really has to be on the front consideration of how we're going to move forward.
KORO VAKA'UTA: Are you confident something on those two big issues will be done? Because they've been talked about in the past -- fisheries and climate change -- are you confident something will for finally be done for, as you say, something that's so urgent?
TR: It has to be done. As you know, COP 21 is the big international stamp of approval that's coming up, but to get to that big stamp of approval, we have to be together as a region. You know, climate change is not just affecting the Pacific, it's affecting the Caribbean, Africa and throughout the world community. But we have to take care of our own business at home before we go to the big international table and say 'this is what we'll ask the world to do.'
KV: And the Kiribati representative here made strong statements about the need, like you said, to come together -- to band together -- as representatives from small island states yourself. Do you feel your voices are being heard?
TR: We feel that we've been talking a lot and it's gone past the situation where talking is enough. Now you have to put your cards on the table and it would help if there's some solidarity on those cards.
KV: What happens if the likes of the two bigger players, New Zealand and Australia, don't move as urgently as the smaller representatives want?
TR: Well again, this is the challenge facing regionalism, what can we do that can bring out the most good for everybody? Especially when it comes to matters of life and death and survival and sustainability. I think those issues are the very reasons why there is a Pacific Island Forum. If you don't believe in those then there really should be no solidarity effort here.
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